Updated: May 12, 2019
Most people who know something about Ayahuasca focus on the Ayahuasca Ceremony and refer to their experience as an event not as a Journey. However, participating one or more Ayahuasca Ceremonies is not Ayahuasca Assisted Therapy.
Ayahuasca assisted therapy is a term that refers to a guided, therapeutic process supported by the psychoactive plant Ayahuasca and led by an experienced guide. This is a journey that takes much longer than the single night of the ceremony. It begins way before that and keeps going way after the actual experience. It is a participatory process where you play the most important part.
Healing vs Curing
It is important that we understand the difference between healing and curing. Curing refers to eliminating the symptoms by taking a medicine and waiting for change to happen. In this context we are powerless and passive participants in our experience. Healing means to transform the root of the problem, create change and return to our natural state of wellness, wholeness and peace. The Mother Ayahuasca supports and inspires this healing and change.
What I mean by Ayahuasca Assisted Therapy is a specific healing journey that includes a personally guided preparation and integration process that can last up to 1 year.
This is a conscious shadow work and dedicated practice to change the mental conditioning and shift behavior on a fundamental level to create a new life. It requires openness, willingness and commitment to change. This is a true warrior path not for the faint hearted.
I learned about this process from a Mexican healer and it truly changed my life. It allowed me to collect my scattered pieces together after a huge breakdown catalyzed by my many encounters with the Mother Ayahuasca. And of course the Mother Plant Herself is teaching me also how to work with her instead of just being a passive observer in my life and in my experience.
During the past years I witnessed many times the numerous benefits of this process, and now I am excited to share this information about the significance of the preparation and integration process and support people to learn how to work with this medicine in a conscious and responsible way.
The preparation process (set and setting)
The Preparation Process is also called the set and the setting refers to the context for the Ayahuasca Ceremony. This includes one's mindset and the physical and social environment in which the individual has the experience, the Ayahuasca Ceremony.
It is important that we understand that these factors have a huge impact on the experience. For example before an Ayahuasca ceremony you would want to know, who is leading the ceremony, where is the medicine coming from and how was it prepared and where the ceremony will take place. Also your state of mind, your personal prayer and intention will further enhance and shape your journey.
The preparation sessions with an experienced guide, a healer assist to deepen and clarify one's personal intentions, write their personal 'prayer' and get ready for the journey.
We also use the personal intention as a guidepost to refer back to during the integration process. It is just simply much easier to understand what's happening and why during the integration process in light of what one was asking for at the beginning of the journey.
The Ayahuasca Ceremony
I find that this is a very personal and unique experience. You can find a lot more written about this topic. However it's good to use your intuition and common sense when committing to a Ceremony instead of only relying on other people's experiences.
Although the healing process starts with the preparation and personal commitment to undertake this journey the real journey starts with the Ceremony that we count as the first day of the process.
I think about the ceremony as an initiation that sets into motion a beautiful journey for healing and liberation.
The Guided Integration process
This integration process is a personally guided, focused therapeutic process that usually last from 6 months to 1 year, depending on the individual.
During this time the individual goes through a death and rebirth cycle. More precisely death of old beliefs and integration of new ones. This is the most important part of the process because the mind creates reality and the belief system is like a software that allows the mind to operate. We act like we think. To create permanent change in our life we have to change our behavior and for that we need to transform our mind, our way of thinking. This is our primary focus during this time.
This transformation can be painful and long depending upon the occurring resistance. Change is eventually understood as being necessary and it is embraced as the individual starts to practice higher levels of truth. This surrender allows the person to open to the inner guidance that has always been present but ignored. Through this integration and dedicated practice healing is possible and the birth of a new state of consciousness is available.
Integration is a natural process. It's part of the journey. The choice we have can be described: let go or be dragged. If we don't even know that this is happening then of course it's hard to go with it. If we have an experienced guide and regular therapy sessions it's much easier and faster to go through this process. Why would not take the easier path? Why not save some extra suffering? There will be plenty of pain to deal with anyways. No need for adding. I have discovered through my experience that a guided, focused integration process literally makes a world of a difference. I can summarize like this: more ease, less pain, faster results.
Remember, You are the healer. Only You can create the change.
The Mother Ayahuasca will shine a light on the dark spots and guide your way so you can make the necessary steps for change. But you have to make those steps. There is no elixir, no magic pill. On the contrary, if you commit to work with this medicine things will become much worse before they begin to get better. I testify that:) The plant is your ally. The ceremony is your initiation and the beginning of your journey. It is definitely not the ending:) The conscious, guided integration process is vital and necessary part of the journey. An experienced guide is your best asset during this time of change and transformation.
Think about it this way. You go to the movies super excited to watch the new picture that you were waiting for for a long time. You prepare, buy your ticket, your soda and popcorn and settle into your seat. You feel excited for it all to begin. Your heart is beating with anticipation. And finally the movie starts. You are on the journey. The beginning of the movie say the first 15 min symbolizes the ceremony with the Mother Ayahuasca. Now imagine that after the first 15 min of the long awaited movie you stand up and walk out of the theater. You just go back to your life, your daily routine. And you wonder why the movie was so confusing and didn't make any sense. You might feel disappointed because it was just simply not what you expected. But what if you just missed a big part? Maybe next time if you want, you can stay present for the whole ride.
Welcome to the journey.
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